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Multivitiamins Do We Need Them?

Thursday, November 08, 2018


By: Isabelle Z.

Some people believe that taking multivitamins doesn’t benefit their health in any way, and when you see the price tag on some vitamins, you might be hoping they are right. However, studies show that taking a multivitamin can indeed make a big difference, especially if it accompanies a healthy, active lifestyle. In some cases, it can reduce a person’s risk of death by up to 70 percent.

A study published in the Journal of Breast Cancer Research & Treatment explored multivitamin supplementation in 2,200 women who had been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer from 1997 to 2000. Researchers tracked the women’s use of multivitamins in the two years prior to their diagnosis as well as afterward.

Remarkably, women who took multivitamins and who also consumed a healthy diet – defined as containing at least 5 ½ servings of fruits and vegetables per day – and got at least 16 hours per week of physical activity enjoyed a reduced risk of death — from any type of illness — during the two-year follow-up period by up to 70 percent! For those less active women whose diets were not as healthy, the multivitamins did not provide the same benefit.

In addition, they found that women who avoided chemotherapy and opted for radiation treatment instead had a reduction in breast cancer recurrence if they took multivitamins. These women also had a lower risk of death from all causes.

These findings prompted the researchers to conclude that taking multivitamins regularly after being diagnosed with breast cancer helps women survive, especially if they are also moderately active and consuming a healthy diet. The benefits are even greater for those who do not get chemotherapy.

A few vitamins in particular stood out as being beneficial in preventing the recurrence of breast cancer. For example, antioxidants like vitamin E and vitamin C have anticancer properties like stopping tumor cells from proliferating, modulating the immune system, and inducing the death of cancer cells.

Vitamin D also plays a big role in not only improving breast cancer survival rates but reducing the risk of disease in the first place. People who have blood levels of vitamin D of at least 30 ng/ml have twice the survival rate for breast cancer noted by those whose vitamin D levels are lower (roughly 17 ng/ml on average).

Multivitamins can also improve brain function

Vitamins have also been shown in recent studies to have a positive effect on brain function and mood, and they can work their magic in less than a month. 

In a study that involved 58 adults, researchers discovered that those who took a multivitamin each day had higher levels of B vitamins and lower levels of homocysteines, which are markers of mental well-being. These participants also earned lower scores on the Profile of Mood States’ subscale for depression and dejection.

These effects were obvious after just four weeks of multivitamin use, and the study’s authors believe that ongoing use would have resulted in an even greater cumulative effect.

Of course, there are some cases where vitamins might do more harm than good. Always ensure you purchase organic vitamins from trusted sources that have been tested for heavy metals and contaminants to ensure your vitamins are as pure as possible. 

Keep in mind that it may be possible to get enough of many vitamins with sound dietary choices and plenty of regular sunshine.

Are multivitamins necessary? Although skeptics might still argue that they aren’t, it’s hard to deny this powerful evidence, and if you have breast cancer, it’s a very easy step to add to your daily routine that could end up saving your life.

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